The 117 year old Topper Cigar Co. has turned its previously machine-made Rosedale brand back into a handmade cigar.
Once made by hand under contract in Pennsylvania during the 1950s, Topper eventually acquired the Rosedale brand in the '80s and started producing it by machine. By 2006, Topper relocated production to the Dominican Republic at the General Cigar Dominicana factory where it remained a machine-made smoke.
Now, brand owner Chris Topper has transferred Rosedale's operation to Dufort Holdings, where the medium-filler smoke is hand rolled again, this time under the supervision of Philip Zanghi. Dufort is based in the Corporacion Cigar Export building in the Dominican Republic.
"Our old logo read ‘Forty minutes in Havana,'" Topper said. "Then it changed to ‘Forty minutes of the best.' We're going back to the way it was."
The blend consists of long-cut, medium-filler tobacco from Nicaragua, Honduras and the Dominican Republic with some Connecticut broadleaf as well. Holding it together is a Dominican binder and a Pennsylvania broadleaf wrapper, or Dominican Habano-seed wrapper, depending on the variety. Two sizes are available: Londres, measuring 5 3/8 inches by 48 ring and Perfecto at 5 by 48. They both come packaged in boxes of 30 and retail for $1.85 and $2.25, respectively.
"Our company's whole existence for 117 years has been based on value," added Topper. "Even with our machine-made products it was always about natural tobacco, never homogenized wrapper."
Production of the Londres size started in the summer of 2012 and the Londres has been available since last year. The Perfectos were rolled in early 2013 and should start shipping by the end of this month.